It’s no secret that KTM has fully embraced electric dirt bikes. Now, they’ve taken dirt-circuitry to the next level with KTM E-Parks: electric-only indoor riding centers partnered with KTM and offering some unique advantages.
The latest facility will open in Ireland, following several others across Europe, including Germany, France, and Austria (of course). Here’s GoPro footage of a rider out for a spin in Finland’s ElectricArena, which seems to have been built in an unfinished underground bunker or mutant rabbit burrow.
Here’s a view of another park. The eDirtArena in Rheinbreitbach, Germany, boasts a 2,500-square-meter climate-controlled Supercross hall and a 2,400-square-meter two-lane dirt track.
Ireland’s new park, E-Trax, will be even larger at 3,250 square meters. Since tracks fit best in large, open areas, warehouses and other industrial spaces are prime candidates for e-park conversions. This puts dirt riding closer to urban centers, where off-road riding places are usually scarce. Austria’s Area47 looks to have been built in such a space.
Across the board, the parks seem eager to appeal to wide audiences. Much like paintball or rock climbing, electric dirt parks can host corporate events, parties, team-building activities or competitive events. Most parks have some indoor track, and others are fully enclosed, which extends the dirt season for many riders who would otherwise be waiting for spring. Minimum age is often 16, though parks with smaller bikes on hand can accommodate younger racers. Some parks require basic training courses before heading out. Others offer beginner- or youth-focused classes, sometimes on smaller, restricted machines from other manufacturers. After a rider passes the class, instructors can dial up the power to suit each student’s skill level.
Like most electric motorcycles, KTM’s dirt bikes don’t have gears to shift through, so beginners can focus on throttle, brakes and technique. And with no internal combustion to worry about, these quiet and emissionless parks can be built where dirt tracks were previously impossible.
How about price? eDirtArena gave this sample ride schedule, in which riders get four 20-minute sessions with two 20-minute breaks and a half-hour recharge in the middle. So 80 minutes of riding (including a rented KTM FreeRide E and Germany’s 19 percent Value-added Tax) comes to €120, or around $150. Austria’s Area47 offers guided Freeride tours for €81 ($100). If a KTM E-Park were to come to the United States, the VAT would be out of the equation, though other taxes would apply. The price would come down further if you could bring your own e-bike.
Every time the future of motorcycling is discussed here at Common Tread, one of the issues that comes up is the accessibility of the sport to young people. Very few kids growing up in cities have the opportunity to ride a motorcycle legally and safely. KTM's E-Parks provide at least a partial and potential solution.
Plus, when the weather is the way it is outside right now, it looks like fun for the rest of us, too. I know I’d give the Freeride another look if a park opened up near me…